Shove it!

Springtime is a good time to just shove it. I mean really. That can apply to lots of things. Of course the politics of the day is a reason to say shove it but I am referring to doing some spring cleaning and decluttering. How often do you add things without taking away? This is the last week of April so actually spring is one-third gone already. The kids have finished their elementary, middle school and high school spring breaks. Colleges have completed their spring breaks and are moving quickly toward the time-honored processes for exams and graduations.

Before you know it, we will be hearing about commencement announcements, various commencement speakers and all of the pomp & circumstances that go with college graduations. I might have missed it in the news but I haven’t heard of any colleges extending an invitation to the current occupant of the oval office to be their commencement speaker. I guess some folks are telling him to shove it.

Anyway, my point is that before all of the end of spring graduation frenzy gets going, this is a good time to look within your home and your life and decide what you need to say “shove it” to. If you were a fan of Oprah’s television show, you may remember seeing one of her regulars, Peter Walsh. He often appeared with tips on decluttering. Read more: You can apply Peter’s techniques to every room of your house.

All the stuff you own will fit into one of three categories:
1. Memory Items: treasures, trinkets, forgotten items, malignant items
2. I-Might-Need-It Items (about 80% of what’s in your home will probably be this)
3. Trash/Recycling (probably 15% of what’s in your home)

Peter Walsh says, “Treasures represent about 5 percent of the objects you own, or even less. The things that neither you nor anyone else needs to keep will represent, I suspect, about 15 percent of the stuff in your home.”

Also, decluttering at home can be the opening to having more: Living with less can help us resist the urge to splurge: A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that being in cluttered environments decreases self-control, resulting in a greater likelihood of impulsive spending. Read more:

Do you want to make some money from your decluttering? Your dusty ski jacket and 2010 iPad may evoke great memories, but ask yourself, “Does this item serve me today?” Will I use it within the next year? If yes, then it stays. But if the item has gone unused for longer than a year, it might be time to cash in. Luckily, these sites make resale a breeze:

1. Used iPhones: The site will send you a prepaid shipping label, inspect the gadget, and pay you for your device. At the end of last year, an iPhone 6s in good condition fetched an average of $245.

2. Other Ship GoPros, laptops, or wearable tech to NextWorth and get cash in return. Says CEO David Chen, “Even if a product is broken, it can see strong trade-in value.”

3. Designer clothing: List high-fashion duds, and when you land a buyer, Tradesy will send a box and shipping label (and take a commission off the top).

4.Other clothing: The site sends a bag with a prepaid shipping label; fill it with good-condition clothing and accessories, then ship it back. ThredUp lists items for you, and you earn a percentage of the sale price.

So, let this last week of April be a week to declutter your house. Now, how about the other part of you to clean up: the internal clutter. “Unless you’re happy with yourself, you won’t be happy with what you do.” Shove out the negative views about yourself. No amount of happy thoughts of spring can bring in happiness if you are holding over thoughts that don’t serve who you are now. I picked up a book that I have had for a while, Happiness Now!, by Robert Holden. He had several appearances on Oprah’s show as well. The book was published in 1998 and revised in 2007 but still very current in its concepts.

Holden’s book has a chapter on Being Good Enough that focuses on getting rid of telling yourself bad messages about not being good enough. Things like demanding perfection, thinking you aren’t pretty enough, not intelligent enough, not successful enough, etc. At the end of that chapter, he offers a Forgiveness Meditation used in The Happiness Project. This meditation is a way to truly shove out some obstacles to happiness.

There is another chapter on Practicing Acceptance. In this chapter, he discusses how guilt loads us down and keeps us from happiness, “guilt is the belief that you do not deserve happiness.” This belief is learned, it is not natural and if we believe that God loves us unconditionally … even though religions give us double-speak on this … then the intention is love & happiness, not the burden of guilt.

Spring into happiness by shoving out guilt, by practicing acceptance of you. There is no price for happiness. There is no admission required for it. Actually, it’s free and I believe it is intended for all of us. That doesn’t mean it’s easy but it isn’t as hard as some would have us believe either. It’s a choice, that’s what my mother always told me. It is not the circumstances that dictate happiness, it our decision to be happy no matter what the circumstances are. Just like with the clutter that you were going through … one man’s trash is another’s treasure. One person can choose to be happy under circumstances that another would see as miserable.

This week, I want you to shove out those thoughts. Self-acceptance and inner peace need space to grow. You have to get rid of thoughts of unworthiness, thoughts of last year’s failures and thoughts of “if-only” or “why didn’t I”.  When you get your piles of trash from the house ready for the junk yard, take the mental baggage and shove it out too.

Holden says, “It takes as much time to be happy as it does to be depressed or resentful. Happiness requires no extra time. In fact it requires not time at all. Happiness is natural, easy and effortless when your self-acceptance is high. To withhold self-acceptance is to judge that you’re not worthy of happiness. You attract what you believe you deserve.”

Thou visits the earth and waters it, thou greatly enriches it; the river of God is full of water; thou provides their grain, for so thou hast prepared it. Thou waters its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. — Psalm 65:9-10



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